BREAST RECONSTRUCTION OPTIONS
Breast reconstruction is a cosmetic surgery that restores or enhances a woman’s breast shape in one or both breasts. The decision about which approach to use depends on the type of mastectomy initially performed, the skill of the cosmetic surgeon, and the patient’s personal preference. There are a number of reconstruction options that are well known and some that are new to patients. These techniques include:
Breast implants – Utilizing silicone gel or saline implants can offer an excellent fulfilling achievement for a patient lacking shape and volumeof a natural breast. Special tissue expanders will slowly develop an implant pocket within the confines of the breast tissue and after enough space is made the implants may be placed.
Fat transfer – This reconstruction option involves using the patient’s own body fat to create a natural breast mound and typically for patients who have healed after mastectomy and one who possesses enough donor tissue for harvesting. Excess fat can be removed throughout troubled zones from the body by liposuction and purified to correct the size and shape of abnormal-sized breasts.
Breast reduction or breast lift – In certain cases with patients who undergo single mastectomy, a breast reduction or breast lift can be performed on the other breast to achieve an even size and placement with the reconstructed breast.
Nipple reconstruction–A patient’s nipples are typically removed during a mastectomy, so nipple and areola reconstruction are often included as part of the breast reconstruction procedure. In other cases, where a patient had experienced a birth defect that surpassed the changes of puberty and one of the nipples may have developed abnormally compared to the other, nipple reconstruction can resize and replace them symmetrically on the breasts.
Tissue reconstruction–This is one of the traditional methods of breast reconstruction where native flaps of tissue from the patient’s abdomen, back or thighs are used to reshape the breast, either with or without breast implants.
CANDIDATES FOR BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
Most women who have undergone some form of breast cancer surgery are candidates for breast reconstruction. There are other patients who experienced a lifelong desire for a naturally feminine look for their body type which was not achieved after puberty, in which case females can consider themselves candidates. The ideal breast reconstruction candidates will depend on the patient’s:
- Current health and medical history
- Stage of cancer and ongoing treatments
- Current height-to-weight ratio
- Cosmetic expectations for surgery
RECOVERY AFTER BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
Following breast reconstruction, a patient can expect to feel uncomfortable over the first couple of days, accompanied by light bruising and swelling. Depending on the type of surgery performed most patients can expect to stay overnight at a hospital to ensure that initial infections or complications are avoided. Prescription pain medication and antibiotics will be provided to minimize discomfort, but the good news is that light physical activity can resume shortly after your release.